We did a 5 day cruise because it was the first one we could book that had the Scenic Ocean View. The weather was cold and rainy for most of the cruise so we thoroughly enjoyed just hanging out in our stateroom. After the cruise we decided 5 days was probably too short given the time, distance, and expense to get to the port. Valor is an easy ship to get around but probably my least favorite ship in terms of decor and artwork. As a frequent Carnival cruiser am noticing the recent small cutbacks ... the devil is in the details. No more Carnival pens in the room. No lobster on the one elegant night in the Main dining room. I think our steward had something like 30 cabins to clean so we never knew when he would show up although he did a great job and always made us towel animals.
Dining selections are fairly average and most nights you can get the identical entrees on the Lido deck as the MDR. Since they changed to the American Table menu I feel as if they're catering to palettes that prefer The Golden Corral rather than more adventurous selections. I will say that the pastry options on the Lido deck are very, very good.
Still think Carnival gives a good bang for the buck.
5 out of 5
We had priority early check in. (Loyalty has its priviledges) Wait time to board ship was minimal due to their streamlined check in process.
Food and Dining
3 out of 5
Food selections on Lido and MDR are good but nothing special. Guys, the Cantina, and the BBQ are very good. Steakhouse remains a good value but not happy with the new menu with odd dessert options. The "create art at your table" was a high concept idea with an extremely disappointing result unless you like jello. Wish they'd bring back former desserts options that rocked. Although we went to the steakhouse on elegant night I heard from disgruntled passengers that the MDR didn't serve lobster on elegant night for 5 day cruises. Really? Given that on 7 day cruises, the MDR only serves lobster the first elegant night I can't understand giving 5 day cruisers the shaft.
4 out of 5
This is the first time I've ever been blown away by a cruise director. Kevin Donohue was memorable - fun, engaging, and a total hoot! His 9pm atrium music trivia contests were a complete blast!
4 out of 5
All musicians were great especially an amazing violin trio that did a killer version of Deep Purple's "Highway Star". Stage shows were good although one poor performer could dance but couldn't carry a tune in a bucket. Regardless, they tried hard and kept us entertained.
Service and Staff
4 out of 5
All service staff was very friendly...but I have to say it seems that the cabin stewards are now handling more staterooms than they have in the past.
3 out of 5
Ship was clean. I always saw workers dusting and polishing places you wouldn't even think of cleaning! I didn't find the ventilation from the casino to the promenade walkways was as good on Valor as her sister ships...too much of a stale cigarette smell.
Cabin / Stateroom
5 out of 5
OMG! A poor man's penthouse. Fantastic view from bed, sofa, or just sitting in the two provided chairs. Large and roomy as a suite although none of the suite amenities. A single closet for hanging, 4 shelves (one of which taken up by the safe) . 4 drawers and small desk. Good thing we learned not to overpack. Noticed that Carnival no longer provides pens and their little notepads. Instead found a golf pencil. Sigh....
The Gulf of Mexico can be very rough waters so be prepared for the ship to sway!
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